Friday, February 22, 2002

NORTH KOREA WATCH: Bjorn Staerk is on that beat, providing links to Kim Jong-Il's birthday party and an interview with one of his bodyguards. Kim's, not Bjorn's. Check out the dirt the bodyguard has on the Dear Leader:

Kim's real partying took place at one of his two residences in Pyongyang, where he could drink, act the big shot and get close to pretty girls. The beverage of choice was Paekdu Mountain Bulnoju (or Eternal Youth) a fiery liquor made from rice. Female band members and dancers wore micro-minis and tank tops and the men gave them drinks if they performed well. The women were trained not to drink too much but the men, including Kim, usually ended the evening trashed.

During the working day, the drinking started again, sometimes as early as noon (although Kim didn't get sloshed at the office). Kim became furious if he wasn't the center of attention: he got upset if he saw people shaking hands while he was in the room, scolding them for ignoring him. When Kim was in a good mood, he would shower his guards with gifts: deer and birds he hunted and sometimes pineapples, bananas and mandarin oranges—all rare luxuries.

Dear Leader sounds like a fabulous job, except for the hideous repression of your citizens. What I don't get about the bodyguard is that he's just working a day job in South Korea now. Wouldn't you think Seoul would need him for intelligence on the North or something? Or is North Korea so obviously weird that you don't need intelligence to tell you that? Maybe that's the South's plan, waiting for Pyongyang to topple itself over so there's a minimum of armed conflict. I guess.

No comments: